We’ve come a long way from our humble origins. In the late 1980’s, our original 3,500 square foot building expanded to 7,500 feet. Most recently, we had a massive renovation and expansion project that finished up in 2012. This gave us an additional 5,000 feet that allowed us to provide new study room spaces, a teen area, and a sort of “community front porch” that is one of the staff’s favorite parts of the library. Additionally, most of our furniture and shelving in the main part of the library is mobile (leading a former director to call us “the library on wheels”). This lets us transform our space as needed for events, programs, and daily library work.
One of the things that we are proudest of at the Bremen Library is the close relationship that we have with our funding agency, the city of Bremen. While we know that libraries across the country have struggled over the years with support, we have been incredibly lucky that we have received consistent support from the city for our services, our expansion efforts, and the many projects and programs that we put out into the city.
We offer a wide variety of programming for the citizens of Bremen. In addition to pre-k storytimes, weekly movie nights, author readings, movie presentations to area special needs groups, and other events, we have a strong teen program that meets weekly. We’re very proud of our work with teens because this age group can be difficult to reach and can fall through the library programming cracks between children and adults. So whether it is painting book ends for the YA section, our monthly YA movie, classes on Internet safety, or our teen book club, we put a lot of effort into ensuring that the teens of Bremen have a fun, engaging, and safe place for them to come after school.
Another program that makes us a bit unique in the library world are our weekly fitness classes. We’re building strong bodies and minds at the Bremen Library with free weekly yoga and Zumba classes. Additionally, we have a group that gets together to walk on Monday nights. Not a lot of libraries do this, but we have experienced remarkable success in engaging the community and pulling a consistent audience.
In a community our size, we also act as part community and cultural arts center. We try to have a featured artist of the month and a featured collector. According to Lisa Walton-Cagle, branch manager of the Bremen Library: “Our goal was to be a community and to have that feeling. We wanted everyone in the community to feel like they belong.” We have a strong and welcoming staff that we are fiercely proud of, and we think that we’re one of the best public libraries around. So next time you’re in the area, stop by the Warren P. Sewell Memorial Library in Bremen!